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RD-88…can it be played from an external keyboard? - YES!


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I see it has no midi in port as such , but it does have the USB port the docs say can be used for audio…can you also connect an external ‘board here to play the RD-88 sounds, or is it set to be a controller only?

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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According the the MIDI Implementation Chart on page 24 of the RD-88 MIDI Implementation Document (Available at: https://www.roland.com/global/support/by_product/rd-88/owners_manuals/), it can both transmit AND receive most midi events. Obviously the Rx would have to be via USB.

 

~ vonnor

Gear:

Hardware: Kurzweil Forte7, Korg Kronos 2

Software: Cantabile 3, Halion Sonic 3 and assorted VST plug-ins.

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The USB-B supports MIDI, but is only for connecting to a USB host device, usually a PC. Same as when you connect a printer via USB, it doesn't work the other way around. And the USB-A port on the RD-88 is only for storage devices.

 

Maybe you can do it using some kind of adapter device, though.

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9 hours ago, vonnor said:

According the the MIDI Implementation Chart on page 24 of the RD-88 MIDI Implementation Document (Available at: https://www.roland.com/global/support/by_product/rd-88/owners_manuals/), it can both transmit AND receive most midi events. Obviously the Rx would have to be via USB.

 

~ vonnor

 

thanks - yeah I read that, but that section in the manual israthler cryptic and it doesn't spell out that you CAN connect an external keyboard to the MIDI A port and play sounds on the RD-88. Been searching fro a day or so now and I cannot get this answer anywhere, well, nothing definitive. It would take an RD owner to connect something and see I think .

7 hours ago, torhu said:

The USB-B supports MIDI, but is only for connecting to a USB host device, usually a PC. Same as when you connect a printer via USB, it doesn't work the other way around. And the USB-A port on the RD-88 is only for storage devices.

 

Maybe you can do it using some kind of adapter device, though.

 

 

Thanks, yeah that I was aware of.

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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6 hours ago, miden said:

 

thanks - yeah I read that, but that section in the manual israthler cryptic and it doesn't spell out that you CAN connect an external keyboard to the MIDI A port and play sounds on the RD-88. Been searching fro a day or so now and I cannot get this answer anywhere, well, nothing definitive. It would take an RD owner to connect something and see I think .

 

 

Thanks, yeah that I was aware of.

From the specs on the web site, the host port is for USB memory. The type B (device) USB port is USB MIDI compliant.

image.png.66c0ff915218eb241f85ebd06a1652d4.png

 

You will need a device like one of the below. There must be others (I even found one local manufacturer here in Brazil). I have no experience with these, so I hope other users chime in and provide additional info.

image.png.d3519d9829b0fccedd057131c865c2be.png

image.png.ce670c6ca61b2bb42e077d4849f607d7.png

image.png.08ff57aad27e5eb196ec43547bf49d74.png

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, klausi6 said:

you also can connect both keyboards to a pc and the pc acts as a midi router.

on the pc has to run a midi router software. for example a DAW.

It is up to the OP to confirm, but I suppose that is not an option and not a very practical anyway for some situations. These little boxes, though not the ideal solution (Roland's decision to omit a MIDI-in port on an RD is weird, considering there is a MIDI out port), are at least more practical, and the power may be supplied by the host port of the RD, if power consumption is less than 500mA.

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3 hours ago, klausi6 said:

you also can connect both keyboards to a pc and the pc acts as a midi router.

on the pc has to run a midi router software. for example a DAW.

you can use an iPad for this, too.

 

I don't suggest a DAW For this kind of thing, unless you're using a DAW anyway. For MIDI routing, there are better-suited apps designed for live performance, like Keystage (iPad), Mainstage (Mac), Cantabile (Windows), Gig Performer (Mac and Windows), Camelot Pro (iPad, Mac, and Windows).

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With a hub & CCK dongle you could also use an i-device for routing though it would be a little clunky. I'll take a wild guess there's a similar setup that works on Android.

 

[ ha - AS beat me to this by a minute!]

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Thanks for all the replies...yes all of those possibilities I had already thought of, but all are too awkward if I was going to go that way. I know on the Montage, Fantom 0 sereis and Korgs that USB A also accepts USB midi from an attached keybed, I was hoping the RD-88 port may have been the same.

The manuals syntax indicates it MIGHT be possible but isn't definitive, and I guess therein lies the answer - if it was Roland would have spelled it out I guess.

 

Might need to look at something else, should I continue to move away from the PC setup (mac mini)

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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Yeah, supporting class compliant controllers over USB is still the exception rather than the rule, but it is getting more common. I think these are the keyboards that do it:

 

* all Dexibells

* Korg Kronos, Nautilus, and PA arrangers

* Kurzweil K2700 and PC4 series

* Roland Fantom/Fantom-0, maybe Jupiter X/Xm,Juno-X (I'm guessing either all three of them do it, or none of them do)

* Yamaha Montage/MODX

 

Also, the Gemini module does it, maybe some other modules too?

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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20 hours ago, AnotherScott said:

Yeah, supporting class compliant controllers over USB is still the exception rather than the rule, but it is getting more common. I think these are the keyboards that do it:

 

* all Dexibells

* Korg Kronos, Nautilus, and PA arrangers

* Kurzweil K2700 and PC4 series

* Roland Fantom/Fantom-0, maybe Jupiter X/Xm,Juno-X (I'm guessing either all three of them do it, or none of them do)

* Yamaha Montage/MODX

 

Also, the Gemini module does it, maybe some other modules too?

Crumar Mojo Desktop module does it-I don't know if the keyboards do? (I get confused by the various editions of the Mojo range).

 

Cheers, Mike.

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@Anotherscott: How do you connect multiple Keyboards with USB to an Ipad?

@EWC: How is your experience with your devices?
 

I own the USB host from miditech. i was not really satisfied. troubleshooting, when midi data are discarded is not really funny.

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15 minutes ago, klausi6 said:

@Anotherscott: How do you connect multiple Keyboards with USB to an Ipad?

@EWC: How is your experience with your devices?
 

I own the USB host from miditech. i was not really satisfied. troubleshooting, when midi data are discarded is not really funny.

 

Any chance you could move this to a new thread?

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There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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On 5/21/2022 at 11:14 AM, miden said:

I know on the Montage, Fantom 0 sereis and Korgs that USB A also accepts USB midi from an attached keybed

I mentioned earlier that it was only some Korgs, but also, it looks like Fantom/Fantom-0 support for this is limited. See https://rolandus.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360039197531-FANTOM-6-FANTOM-7-FANTOM-8-Connect-Devices-to-the-USB-EXT-DEVICE-Connector#:~:text=Question%3A What kind of devices,specified on the connected device. - They officially support only their own A-49 or A-PRO series controllers, saying "operation is not guaranteed if a generic MIDI device is connected." This seems like it could be more than just a CYA warning (in case something didn't work or to relieve their support people from having to deal with connecting non-Roland gear), because I saw a post somewhere where someone said that, when they connected a non-Roland board, the Fantom saw the keys, but didn't see other controllers from the external board.

 

On 5/22/2022 at 4:18 PM, klausi6 said:

@Anotherscott: How do you connect multiple Keyboards with USB to an Ipad?

I haven't done it myself, but typically, by adding a powered USB hub. Alternatively, you should be able to use a CME WIDI Bud Pro (or Uhost, I think) to convert one of the USB keyboards to bluetooth, and pair it with the iPad's bluetooth.

 

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Answer to my OP, is it can! I ended up trialling the RD-88 (great price if I end up buying) and I got it yesterday and immediately connected the Blofeld to the device port (USB A) via a USB cable and it started playing notes on the RD.

 

Couple of things to note: As the RD can only really use 3 channels (Upper 1 and 2 and lower on channels 1,2,3 respectively) you need to set the incoming device to the channel you want to play, in my case channel 2. Now so that you don't also play the same tones from the RD keybed, you need to ensure the DUAL button (the one that controls channel 2) to off. et voila, I can play any instrument sound on the RD, I set to the upper 2 part from an external 'board.

 

In fact, all the programs (roland calls them scenes) already have an upper two sound set, so if your happy with that, you do not need to change anything.

 

haha, basses are awful. I will see if they can be augmented from Zencore

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There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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22 minutes ago, stoken6 said:

How did you/what did you use to connect the two?

 

Cheers, Mike.

 

USB cable - sorry should have noted that in the post. Done now :D

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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12 hours ago, miden said:

 

USB cable - sorry should have noted that in the post. Done now :D

Which device is the USB host? It can't be the blofeld, as that only has a USB B (device) socket. Roland has both, but I didn't realise it can behave as a USB MIDI Host.

 

Could you post a pic of the two boards connected? 

 

Cheers, Mike.

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When the USB2 cable runs from Blofeld´s USB-B port to the RD-88,- it consequently plugs into RD-88´s USB-A port (called "for update" in the user manual).

 

I´m curious if that really works for MIDI-In,- for MIDI notes only or also for MIDI CCs.

Up to now I doubt,- until more users confirm.

It´s not mentioned in the manual,- and when it really works, not Roland´s intention,- some lucky bug instead,- I guess.

It´s also interesting how it behaves when connecting a keyboard via USB-A and a laptop/ host via USB-B simultaenously,-

does only one or the other work or both ?

 

🤔

 

A.C.

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1 hour ago, Al Coda said:

When the USB2 cable runs from Blofeld´s USB-B port to the RD-88,- it consequently plugs into RD-88´s USB-A port (called "for update" in the user manual).

 

I´m curious if that really works for MIDI-In,- for MIDI notes only or also for MIDI CCs.

Up to now I doubt,- until more users confirm.

It´s not mentioned in the manual,- and when it really works, not Roland´s intention,- some lucky bug instead,- I guess.

It´s also interesting how it behaves when connecting a keyboard via USB-A and a laptop/ host via USB-B simultaenously,-

does only one or the other work or both ?

 

🤔

 

A.C.

Exactly - I had the same doubt as you, but @miden's post seems fairly conclusive. I'm keen to see a photo of the connections.

 

Cheers, Mike

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1 hour ago, stoken6 said:

I'm keen to see a photo of the connections.

 

Cheers, Mike

 

 

Well, just only watching a photo doesn´t make evident what really works and what not,- except he used a USB-B to USB-B cable being plugged into the USB-B port of the RD-88.

I´d appreciate when it works because no MIDI-in was the dealbreaker for me.

 

The USB class compliant host adapter boxes I know won´t work because the issue isn´t the 2nd keyboard´s MIDI/ USB connectors,- the RD-88´s USB-A intendent "update/memory stick" use is.

 

☺️

 

A.C.

 

 

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34 minutes ago, Al Coda said:

a USB-B to USB-B cable

A B-to-B cable needs some kind of host logic/capability built into it to be useful. 

 

At this stage, I'm not clear whether miden is using the Roland's USB-A or USB port.

 

Cheers, Mike.

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5 hours ago, stoken6 said:

Exactly - I had the same doubt as you, but @miden's post seems fairly conclusive. I'm keen to see a photo of the connections.

 

Cheers, Mike

 

Why??? It is a simple USB 2 cable connected from the USB B on the Blofeld to the USB A on the RD-88 a picture is not going to change that. And yes the Blofeld DOES communicate via the USB AND the MIDI ports....no, you folks think I'm talking through my arse so have at it...I'm done with this topic...it does what I need,

2 hours ago, stoken6 said:

A B-to-B cable needs some kind of host logic/capability built into it to be useful. 

 

At this stage, I'm not clear whether miden is using the Roland's USB-A or USB port.

 

Cheers, Mike.

 

Well, it's pretty bloody obvious, yeah? there is no USB A port on the Blofeld,  so duh!! which USB port do you reckon I'm using!

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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Dude no need for that reaction. My surprise is because keyboards that can act as a USB MIDI host are rare. It seems the RD88 is one of them. 

 

The other way to connect is to use the USB B ports on both keyboards with some kind of host device/converter in the middle. That’s the common solution for keyboards that can’t act as a USB MIDI host-and what Al Code was alluding to.

 

Either way, why the attitude?

 

Cheers, Mike

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11 hours ago, Al Coda said:

some lucky bug instead,- I guess.

Hardly a bug, given the relative complexity of implementing a USB host with support to USB-Storage and USB-MIDI. However, it is undocumented, so probably Roland is still working on it and waiting until it is mature enough to oficially introduce it as a firmware upgrade. OTOH, it may have inadvertently released on the production firmware (in which case it could be considered a bug :) ) and Roland may withdraw it in a coming release if not still considered mature.

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5 hours ago, miden said:

 

Why??? It is a simple USB 2 cable connected from the USB B on the Blofeld to the USB A on the RD-88 a picture is not going to change that. And yes the Blofeld DOES communicate via the USB AND the MIDI ports....no, you folks think I'm talking through my arse so have at it...I'm done with this topic...it does what I need,

 

Well, it's pretty bloody obvious, yeah? there is no USB A port on the Blofeld,  so duh!! which USB port do you reckon I'm using!

I think the reason why people are surprised is that this is an undocumented feature of the RD-88, and it's an unusual feature on a budget board. Maybe it's an oversight by Roland?

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47 minutes ago, torhu said:

I think the reason why people are surprised is that this is an undocumented feature of the RD-88, and it's an unusual feature on a budget board. Maybe it's an oversight by Roland?

 

Yes I get that , what I object to is people not believing what I have written, next they'll be wanting a full length video feature to prove it as well! TBH, looking at how USB works, I had a hunch it would, as it's a port accepting data, and as the senior Roland boards (Fantoms et al) can, I could not really see them (Roland) running a different USB protocol and input firmware on the RD...although i daresay if it's brought to their attention they may release an "update" to stop it thereby forcing users who want this function to buy a more expensive Roland product ;)

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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2 hours ago, stoken6 said:

Either way, why the attitude?

 

Cheers, Mike

 

Because I do not like having my integrity questioned. I said it worked , just accept it. You don't need a photo to prove it. I've been around this place long enough for you folks to know I don't make things up.

 

As I wrote in the post above I already had a hunch it MIGHT work based on what I know of the USB protocols...Maybe Roland DID know it worked but didn't want it advertised as it might "shark" sales of higher end 'boards :idk:  ...I certainly will be reading closely ANY future OS updates released by them for the RD. If any.

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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12 hours ago, miden said:

I said it worked , just accept it.

 

Why should we ?

You didn´t say how it works precisely.

B.t.w.,- it was me who said "when a/the (standard) USB2 cable runs from Blofeld USB-B port (that´s what it is) to the RD-88,- it consequently connects to the USB-A port of the RD-88.

This IS a USB-A port while the other (to host/ Computer) is typically USB-B.

And because all this isn´t documented by Roland at all, there was the possibility left,- you might have found something "somewhat" working which wasn´t Roland´s intention.

 

Then you said it works for MIDI notes.

It wasn´t clear whether it´s MIDI-notes ONLY,- or also other MIDI info in addition (controllers etc.) and it´s also nor clear up to now,- whether both works or not,- the connection between your Blofeld and RD-88 AND the connection between RD-88 and computer,- AND how this is interacting,- p.ex. the MIDI data being transmitted by the Blofeld is been merged into what´s been transmitted by RD-88 to host computer,- or not.

 

So,- what about the "features" mentioned in my last passage above ?

Are you willing to test and report here ?

I don´t have access to a RD-88 and in my area there aren´t any music shops selling pro gear anymorem,- other wise I´d go and test myself, but I can´t.

 

WHEN both the RD-88 USB connectors work w/ full MIDI implementation simultaneously and allow routing & merging of MIDI data,- the RD-88 I ignored before because of the lack of MIDI-In port, might be a keyboard working for my needs in my home studio and for practising (using it´s speakers) w/o the need of powering up DAW etc..

 

thx in advance

 

☺️

 

A.C.

 

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